Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2012–1024–J

Geologic Framework for the National Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Storage Resources—Williston Basin, Central Montana Basins, and Montana Thrust Belt Study Areas

By Marc L. Buursink, Matthew D. Merrill, William H. Craddock, Tina L. Roberts-Ashby, Sean T. Brennan, Madalyn S. Blondes, Philip A. Freeman, Steven M. Cahan, Christina A. DeVera, and Celeste D. Lohr

Chapter J of
Geologic Framework for the National Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Storage Resources

Edited by Peter D. Warwick and Margo D. Corum

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (8.91 MB)Abstract

The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act directs the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a national assessment of potential geologic storage resources for carbon dioxide (CO2). The methodology used by the USGS for the national CO2 assessment follows that of previous USGS work. This methodology is non-economic and is intended to be used at regional to sub-basinal scales.

The Williston Basin of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana, along with the Central Montana Basins and Montana Thrust Belt study areas are adjacent and share similar geologic units. In general, the Williston Basin study area is a wide sedimentary basin, whereas the Central Montana Basins study area contains sedimentary rocks along topographic highs and flat plains, and the Montana Thrust Belt study area is more structurally complex.

This report identifies and contains geologic descriptions of nine storage assessment units (SAUs) in Cambrian to Upper Cretaceous sedimentary rocks within the Williston Basin study area. The Central Montana Basins and Montana Thrust Belt study areas were also investigated for this report. Nevertheless, no SAUs in these study areas were assessed because they contained potential sources of underground drinking water; although sufficient geologic data were available, and suitable storage formations meeting our size, depth, reservoir quality, and regional seal guidelines were found. Ultimately, the report focuses on the characteristics, specified in the methodology, that influence the potential CO2 storage resource in the SAUs. Specific descriptions of the SAU boundaries as well as their sealing and reservoir units are included. Properties for each SAU, such as depth to top, gross thickness, porosity, permeability, groundwater quality, and structural reservoir traps, are usually provided to illustrate geologic factors critical to the assessment. The geologic information herein was employed, as specified in the USGS methodology, to calculate a probabilistic distribution of potential storage resources in each SAU with these assessment outputs contained in a companion results report.

Figures in this report show the study area boundaries along with the SAU extent and cell maps of well penetrations through sealing units into the top of the storage formations. The USGS does not necessarily know the location of all wells and cannot guarantee the full extent of drilling through specific formations in any given cell shown on the cell maps.

First posted October 27, 2014

For additional information contact:
USGS Energy Resources Program,
Health & Environment
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
National Center, MS 913
Reston, VA 20192
USGS ERP: Geologic CO2 Sequestration

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). For best results viewing and printing PDF documents, it is recommended that you download the documents to your computer and open them with Adobe Reader. PDF documents opened from your browser may not display or print as intended. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge. More information about viewing, downloading, and printing report files can be found here.

Suggested citation:

Buursink, M.L., Merrill, M.D., Craddock, W.H., Roberts-Ashby, T.L., Brennan, S.T., Blondes, M.S., Freeman, P.A., Cahan, S.M., DeVera, C.A., and Lohr, C.D., 2014, Geologic framework for the national assessment of carbon dioxide storage resources—Williston Basin, Central Montana Basins, and Montana Thrust Belt study areas, chap. J of Warwick, P.D., and Corum, M.D., eds., Geologic framework for the national assessment of carbon dioxide storage resources: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1024–J, 40 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)


Editors’ Preface

References Cited

Conversion Factors


Report Overview


Williston Basin Introduction

Deadwood and Black Island Formations SAU C50310101 and Deadwood and Black Island Formations Deep SAU C50310102

Winnipegosis Formation, Interlake Formation, and Bighorn Group SAU C50310103

Three Forks Formation and Jefferson Group SAU C50310104

Kibbey Formation and Madison Group SAU C50310105

Minnelusa Group SAU C50310106

Lower Swift Formation SAU C50310107

Inyan Kara Group SAU C50310108

Newcastle Formation SAU C50310109

Eagle Sandstone

Central Montana Basins

Montana Thrust Belt


References Cited

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Monday, October 27, 2014, 12:07:33 PM